Where to go in South America after the Brazil World Cup
The salt flats in Bolivia, the rocky slopes of Peru’s Inca Trail leading to Machu Picchu, hammerhead sharks in the Galapagos Islands, the home of Eva Peron in Buenos Aires and Malbec wine country in Mendoza in Central Argentina. It won’t be a case of what to see when you finish up at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, but more how much South America you’ll be able to fit in. Assuming you’re starting in Brazil's capital Rio and want to see a bit more of the country before jumping borders, here are our top 3 must-sees for where to go in South America to keep that Latin loving going when the football finishes up.
1. Iguazu Falls
Located on the border of Brazil and Argentina, this massive waterfall is a 17-hour bus ride from Buenos Aires, but you can enter from the Brazilian side too. Upon first glimpse, the falls pin you to the spot with their immensity – 80 metres high and 2.7 kilometres across. The spray grazes your face with cold, tiny bullets that sting and, inexplicably, draw you closer. It almost feels as though you are on the edge of the world. Iguazu Falls is on the UNESCO World Heritage List, so be sure to have your camera on hand when visiting this magnificent natural wonder.
Among the world’s largest wetland areas, the Pantanal spans Brazil and parts of Paraguay and Bolivia and is one of the top destinations in South America for bird watching and wildlife spotting. Take a boat trip on the river system and be surrounded by inquisitive otters and circling caiman. Cruise back to shore for a sunset unlike any other you'll see. The brooding sky is reflected in the wetlands and billowing clouds turn from white to amber-yellow, pink, red and blue, creating a panoramic wonderland that stretches from horizon to horizon.
3. Amazonia into Peru
From the Brazilian Pantanal, hop on a bus through the Amazon jungle – playing with monkeys along the way – to Peru’s Cusco and the gateway to the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu. Historic Cusco is a multicultural town where you can learn about Inca life at a number of museums – our pick of the bunch is the Inca Museum. We also recommend exploring the eateries and little stores that populate the city’s cobbled streets. Start your day in Cusco’s Plaza del Armas, drinking coffee and watching the locals at work and play, and finish at one of its buzzy late-night bars.
Want more? Here's some top South America tour ideas if you've got some more time to explore the continent.